Shannon Brady
Writer & Editor

This year, Passover lasts from Wednesday, April 5 to Thursday, April 13.

Passover, or Pesach (Hebrew for “pass over” as in “skip” or “leave out”) is a major holiday in Judaism. Its celebrations last for a week, and its dates are determined by the lunar calendar, always taking place on the fifteenth day of the Hebrew month Nisan, meaning that it falls on a different week every year of the solar calendar. This year, Passover will last from Wednesday, April 5, to Thursday, April 13.

It memorializes the story of the Israelites’ exodus from slavery in Egypt, following the Ten Plagues brought down by God to convince the Pharaoh to release them. The tenth and final plague was the death of all firstborn sons in the country; the prophet Moses instructed the Israelites to smear lamb’s blood on their doorways, so that the Angel of Death would pass over them and spare their sons.

Passover is a joyful holiday that celebrates survival and freedom. The most important Passover custom is the hosting of a seder (Hebrew for “order”) on the first and occasionally second night, a traditional meal with family and friends in which the Passover story is told, prayers are recited, and symbolic foods such as wine, vegetables, and matzoh (unleavened bread) are shared. Matzoh is particularly important: during Passover, observers are prohibited from eating chametz (leavened food/food with yeast), symbolizing the unleavened bread that the Israelites lived on after escaping Egypt.  

There are several restaurants and catering companies in New York City that serve delicious Passover meals, such as these.

Schools may be closed/colleges may cancel classes for the first and second days of Passover, but this is not guaranteed, so students should check with their school/professor to make sure or to request the time off to observe. Businesses, government buildings, and banks will usually operate on normal hours. However, in traditional observance of Passover, no work or travel is permitted on the first two and last two days of the holiday, so employers should take this into consideration should observant employees request time off.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at Stay safe and healthy!